San Diego’s Acadia Pharmaceuticals Updates Plans for Experimental Parkinson’s Drug

3/10/10

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exploratory trial in Alzheimer’s disease psychosis. If successful, Biovail will reimburse the costs.

As I reported last year, pimavanserin blocks a serotonin receptor on brain cells that appear to have a role in psychotic conditions. There are no approved drugs for psychosis related to Parkinson’s disease; up to 40 percent of 1.5 million Americans with Parkinson’s disease experience hallucinations or delusions of varying severity. An estimated 3 million Americans have schizophrenia. Drugs approved for the illness vary in effectiveness and carry severe side effects.

Pimavanserin was invented internally by Acadia, so if the trials succeed, the upside could be substantial. Needham & Co. analyst Alan Carr, in a research note today, said he viewed the Parkinson’s disease program as “high risk” but continued to favor the schizophrenia program, which showed promise in earlier studies.

Acadia provided the update Tuesday during its fourth quarter conference call. As noted at Briefing.com, the company’s performance was worse than expected. Acadia reported a loss of 23 cents a share after restructuring charges compared to the 19 cent loss expected by First Call. Revenues were $1.8 million versus a First Call census estimate of $2.5 million. Acadia’s shares took a hit today, falling nearly 3 percent to close around $1.37.

Denise Gellene is a former Los Angeles Times science writer and regular contributor to Xconomy. You can reach her at dgellene@xconomy.com Follow @

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